APPEARANCE: Lazarus stands around six and a quarter feet tall and appears to be in his late twenties/early thirties, and whilst not rippling with massive muscles is well toned and in excellent physical condition. He has a pale complexion, and where before his hair had been brown and worn in a tied back in a loose tail, over recent years his hair has darkened with a touch of gray and he has opted to wear it much shorter. Lazarus tends to dress in dark colours, particularly black, and favours a long, black trenchcoat. The feature most people tend to recall are Lazarus’ eyes; his deep brown eyes seem to draw people in, almost transfixing them…
BACKGROUND: The hero now known as Lazarus was born many years ago in Siberia to a common family. Even as he grew up, people noticed that there was something… unusual about the boy. He was unusually focused for his age, and on occasion demonstrated uncanny powers of perception. Such an even occurred one evening when the local villagers gathered at his parents’ house to discuss a spate of thefts in the village, the latest being the theft of one of the villager’s horses. As the villagers debated the matter, the young boy stared intently at each of them, then pointed to one of the villagers and announced that he was the thief. Embarrassed, his parents sent the boy to bed, but the next day a suspicious villager spied the same man moving the stolen horse out of his barn.
Regarded as somewhat strange and shunned because of his odd abilities, the man who would be Lazarus became something of a carouser later in life. Working as a wagon driver, he spent his time ferrying travellers from place to place. He was a regular in the seediest of bars and a profuse drinker, albeit one with the constitution of an ox. He was frequently involved in drunken brawls, though in the taverns he frequented these were a common enough occurrence that the authorities did not tend to involve themselves.
Then one day this man happened to pick up a passenger who would change his life, a seminarian novice who required transport back to his monastery. On the journey, the man who would be Lazarus fell into conversation with his passenger, and challenged him as to why he would give up all the pleasures that were open to him by entering a monastic order? The novice smiled, and returned with the challenge that perhaps his driver should come and see for himself.
The driver accepted, though to this day he could not quite say exactly why. The sect’s teachings were somewhat… unorthodox, to say the least, but the man who would be Lazarus found himself drawn to the monks and their principles. After some time learning their teachings, the man who would be Lazarus left the monastery to wander the land as a Tsarets, a wandering holy man, spreading the teachings of the sect. His unusual abilities made him a charismatic speaker, and he attracted a number of converts. Gradually, word of this powerful Tsarets spread. It was when he happened to travel to St Petersburg that he discovered just how far his name had carried.
A few days after arriving he was contacted by a Lady in Waiting, who asked that he follow her to the palace. He did so, and was taken unobserved via little-used passages to one of the bedrooms. Therein lay an extremely ill child, the heir of a powerful noble. His mother wept over him, and her Lady in Waiting informed the Tsarets that the child suffered from a condition that meant that wounds did not staunch themselves properly; the child had fallen, and was now bleeding to death internally. The Tsarets bent over the boy and locked eyes with him; he spent what seemed like an age staring at the boy and speaking softly to him, exerting the full force of his will to urge the boy to recover, pouring every ounce of strength from himself to the child. When he was done, he staggered from the room exhausted, but for he first time since his accident the boy was not in pain, and his condition seemed improved. The Tsarets visited him again a number of times over the next few days, the child recovered. Overjoyed, his mother bade the man who would be Lazarus to stay with them to ensure that her child would be safe. The Tsarets, feeling somewhere deep inside that this was where he was meant to be, agreed.
Already having gained the trust of the noble lady, the man who would be Lazarus soon found himself in the confidence her husband. He was a good man, but ill advised, manipulated by fools and greed-driven men for their own ends. The Tsarets became a trusted advisor, and helped to remove these individuals from the noble’s court. Soon he became equally feted and feared; people curried his favour as they knew he held the nobleman’s trust, but others feared him, for it was said that he could tell if they were trustworthy simply by staring into their eyes.
In truth, the Tsarets stayed because he had fallen in love with the noble lady; however, his deep respect for her and friendship with her husband meant that he never acted on his feelings. Instead, he did his best to keep her and her family safe, both by tending to her son and by offering the best guidance he could to her husband.
But those who feared the Tsarets and were jealous of his position also plotted his downfall. They enlisted the aid of a young Russian prince to befriend the man and then to betray him to his death. That winter the Prince invited the Tsarets to his home on the banks of the Moika Canal, to join him and two of his friends for drink and food in their cellar dining room. There, the Tsarets ate and drank plentifully as the evening passed, whilst the Prince seemed increasingly ill at ease. Unknown to the Tsarets, his food was laced with poison, but his near-preternatural constitution proved proof against it. Panicking, the Prince excused himself and returned with a pistol, with which he shot the Tsarets square in the chest.
The Tsarets howled in shock and pain as he went flying back over his chair. Laughing, the Prince approached to confirm the holy man was dead, but was stunned to see him roar to his feet and lock his hands around the Prince’s throat in a vice-like grip. The Prince’s two friends attempted to pry the Tsarets off of him, one of them snatching up a knife from the table and plunging it repeatedly into the Tsaret’s back, the other striking him about the head with a heavy candlestick. They were eventually able to free the unconscious Prince, but the Tsarets struggled free and fled. It took the Prince a minute or two to recover and realise that hey had to finish the Tsarets before he could escape and tell of their attempt on his life.
Following the blood trail, the Prince and his companions were amazed to see that the Tsarets stumbling along the bank of the canal. One of the party had retrieved a hunting rifle from the house, took careful aim and fired. The bullet struck the Tsarets in the back; he wavered for a moment, then pitched forward into the freezing Moika Canal. The Prince and his companions rushed to the bank, but there was no sign of the man; the icy waters had swallowed him. It was no matter; as strong as he was, between the poison, the beating, his grievous wounds and the winter waters, there was no way anyone could have survived.
And they should have been correct. The Tsarets should have died. As he felt the dark waters close over his head and fill his lungs with bitter cold, the Tsarets felt himself begin to slip away. But he refused to let go. With every inch of his will, he fought to keep his grip on the world of the living. He succeeded.
The next thing the Tsarets knew, he was hauling himself from the bay at St Petersburg. Stumbing about the city, it came as a stunning blow to the Tsarets to discover exactly how long had passed. Somehow, over a year had gone by since his plunge into the canal; Russia was in revolution, the Romanovs had been deposed and his noble lady was no more. At a loss to explain how he had survived, he at first assumed that he must have lost his memory. He had met unfortunates who had experienced events so traumatic that they had lost part of their memories, was it not possible that the blows to his head, the icy river and his severe wounding had caused something similar? As the days passed though, he realised this was not the case. He seemed possessed of an energy and strength he had never known; he did not tire, and when he shaved his beard off lest someone in the new politik recognise him as an advisor to the old nobility, it did not regrow. He tried to drown his sorrows in ale, but it did not dull his senses. As he wandered confused, he was find that the wounds did not inconvenience him. That night he fell into a deep sleep; when he awoke, he found his full beard had regrown and the wounds had healed.
As time passed, the Tsarets came to accept what must be the truth; he had not lost his memory, but had somehow been trapped beneath the waters for over a year. He found that he no longer needed to breathe, nor eat. Somehow, he had not perished but had instead come back from the brink of death. His iron will, now strengthened even further by the ordeal and his transformation had somehow enabled him to hover on the barrier between life and death. He had struggled with such strength not to let go, it appeared he was now ‘stuck’ in the physical state he found himself in when he washed up in the bay.
Keen to distance himself from his motherland and the sad state it now found itself in, the Tsarets wandered across the land. He took the name Lazarus, after the biblical figure who had also returned from the dead. He wandered for many years, and wherever he went sought out the most learned, the most wise, the most spiritual, and asked to study with them in the hopes that he might find a reason for his being, a purpose in life. He studied with yogi priests in India, mediated with Tibetan monks, and lay on beds of nails with fakirs. In his travels, he saw much happiness, but also much sadness and injustice. During his journeys, during which Lazarus also found (as he had suspected) that he no longer aged, Lazarus strove to fight for what was right. But despite his powers he was just one man, and there is only so much one man could do. Lazarus felt there was something more he must do.
In more recent times, Lazarus felt himself drawn across the ocean to the United States. After some time there, he joined the team known as Maximum Justice. With his teammates he battled to protect the innocent and fought for justice, and felt they were truly making a difference. The team was thought destroyed as a precursor to the extradimensional invasion, but there were survivors. Lazarus and Dr Teresa Kincaid did not perish (it subsequently transpired that their teammate, Sand, had also managed to preserve himself) but were captured by the Tandian invaders and imprisoned along with Annette and other members of House Sargasso, a family of sorcerers and seers who had forseen the coming invasion. There they learnt the truth behind Maximum Justice; that the team had been assembled by Marion Bradley at the behest of Annette to stand against the invaders. Kincaid was cloned by their captors and used to spy on The Vindicators, the team formed to fill the gap left by Maximum Justice, in order to help the Tandians plan their invasion of Earth. The Vindicators and Knight Errant, a British superhero team, used one of the invaders’ own portals to counterattack, destroying the equipment the Tandians used to spy through the clone and leaving her free and releasing Lazarus and the original Kincaid, as well as freeing her clone from their influence.
The superheroes of earth were victorious, freeing High Justice from the curse the invaders has laid on them and pushing the invaders back. In the wake of the invasion, Lazarus realised that there was yet a higher calling that he must attend to. Although defeated on this occasion, it was clear that Earth’s dimension could come under attack again. Lazarus asked to stay with Annette and her Nephew, Grimoire, to investigate these other dimensions and learn more about the Tandians and their allies, and why they had attacked Earth’s dimension.
PERSONALITY: Lazarus can come across as somewhat intimidating when first met; he applies himself to a situation with stern concentration, and his steely gaze can send shivers down the spine. That said, he is also a gregarious fellow, quick to greet friends with a laugh and a hearty slap on the back. Whilst he has grown beyond the excesses of his youth, he enjoys little more that the company of good friends, a stout meal and a good drink (though he is no longer capable of becoming drunk). Lazarus is always extremely polite and well mannered.
Lazarus never panics; this is a reflection of a number of things, including his iron will, his ascetic training and the fact that if you’ve died once and that didn’t stop you, then it takes a heck of a lot to get you in a panic. Lazarus is a very patient man; it takes a lot to anger Lazarus, though he is extremely protective of his friends and harming them is a sure way to incur his wrath.
Sometimes Lazarus can seem a little anachronistic, and occasionally has trouble with complex technological items, though this is something he can overcome with practice (it took him a while to get used to cellular phones, though he still hasn’t quite got used to this ‘text messaging’ thing).
Despite his difficulty with hi tech items, Lazarus is a huge fan of Star Wars, though is not so impressed with the new films and thinks that the ‘midichlorian’ thing makes no sense.
His _expression is often seems stern and serious, as if he is deep in concentration or pondering something of great import, but will then bursting into life with a hearty laugh and grin at a moment’s notice.
Lazarus’ accent is a little hard to place; having wandered to so many places, it has become somewhat difficult to identify, but some of the phrasing he uses and a slight accent (that becomes stronger on the rare occasions he is angered) has a somewhat Russian sound to it.
POWERS/SKILLS: Lazarus’ main power is his virtual indestructibility. His body is pretty much ‘stuck’ at the state it was at the moment ‘died’; he is technically no longer alive, though he is not exactly dead either, rather suspended in some strange state between the two. Before now Lazarus has been riddled with clipfuls of machinegun fire, strode through burning buildings, been run down by eighteen wheelers and hurled from rooftops. Whilst taking damage from such events, he is nevertheless able to get up and continue. The physical evidence of such occurrences can be quite disturbing. For example, on one occasion he entered a blazing apartment building to pull out a survivor and was wandering round in the inferno for some time; when he emerged covered in severe burns one woman screamed and fainted dead away. Fortunately, whilst Lazarus can feel pain, his iron will and mystic training mean that he can effectively shut it out, just as a fakir piercing his flesh with hot skewers.
Lazarus does breathe, though he does not need to do so except to speak; however he has found that if he does not breathe people tend to subliminally pick up on the fact and become somewhat nervous, so he keeps doing so out of habit. Similarly, he can eat and digest food if he so wishes (and, as in life, Lazarus still enjoys a large meal) but does not need to do so. As a result of his unusual condition, Lazarus suffers no ill effect from asphyxiation, starvation, dehydration, poisons or disease. He does not suffer from physical exhaustion or fatigue, and has no physical need for normal sleep (however, see Weaknesses below). Though he need not sleep for physical reasons, he can do so and has found that missing out on sleep for too long can still cause deterioration in his mental faculties. This generally happens only after missing multiple night’s sleep in a row, though he can extend this period by using meditative techniques to rest for a shorter period to refresh his psyche.
Lazarus has also noticed that he has not aged a day since he died.
As well as being physically resilient, Lazarus is also stronger than a normal man; whilst nowhere near the level of a Brick, Lazarus is capable of lifting an average person off the ground by one hand or tipping a car over with effort. He could not throw a car or punch through a brick wall though.
Lazarus has also exhibited mystical abilities. These are not magical abilities, but closer in nature to feats of mind over matter achieved by fakirs, learned shaolin monks and other individuals who have honed their will to such an extent that they can impose it on their physical bodies. Lazarus’ ability to ignore pain has already been mentioned; he has also exhibited the ability to transfix people by his stare, his will being such that he can hypnotise the willing or weak-willed with his eyes alone. It amused him when an associate once likened this to the ‘Jedi mind trick’; intrigued, Lazarus watched the movie the fellow referred to and found it most engaging… Like the Jedi mind trick, the strong-willed find it easier to resist, and it is almost impossible to convince a person to do something that is against their nature.
Although he has never had any formal combat training, Lazarus is a master of the ancient art of ‘fighting dirty’. A youth misspent in the company of cutthroats and engaging in bar brawls has taught him how to handle himself in a fight, as well as just about every dirty trick in the book.
Lazarus’ many years of travel have made him something of an expert of the Asian, Eurasian and European lands and peoples. He is a master of many languages as well as the customs, religions, legends, folklores and myths of these countries/peoples. He also has a vast store of little known mystical knowledge and is aware of some of the world’s darker secrets.
WEAKNESSES: Whilst his body is physically very resilient to damage (so he can fall greater distances than a normal person without injuring himself for instance), unlike some heroes Lazarus is not impervious to harm. As mentioned Lazarus does take damage from attacks, and can be damaged to such an extent that he is effectively immobilized, but this takes extreme amounts of damage since he does not suffer from the effects of blood loss, shock etc. If he suffers sufficient damage to render a body part inoperable (e.g. every bone in his hand was shattered) then he can no longer use it. Detached limbs remain detached and ‘dead’ (Lazarus cannot chop off a hand and make it walk around), and can seriously inconvenience Lazarus. It can be hard to chase down an opponent when one of your legs is missing.
Lazarus does not heal normally. Instead he can fall into a deep regenerative sleep lasting eight hours; when he awakens, his body then ‘resets’ itself to the state it was in when he climbed from the cold waters of the Moika Canal, which includes the reappearance of any lost limbs and a profuse beard. Any severed limbs that may have been preserved turn to dust at the same moment. This regeneration occurs very quickly at the end of the eight hours, bullet holes closing before the eye, wounds sealing up and missing body parts (plus the extensive beard) rapidly reappearing. If the eight hours are interrupted, then no regeneration occurs and Lazarus must reenter his regenerative sleep afresh.
Lazarus has yet to see if his head can regrow an entire body or vice versa, and is not keen to find out.
WORLD FAME: 6
LOCAL FAME: 7
MYSTICAL COMMUNITY FAME: 8